A Balancing Act: Population and the Environment

August 30, 2018


On 30 August 2018 Sandra Jordan, FP2020’s Senior Advisor, Rights & Empowerment wrote about FP2020’s support of the current work of the Population & Sustainability Network at the intersection of population, conservation and reproductive health. You can read the original article on the FP2020 website here, or alternatively below.

Understanding the delicate balance between human populations and environmental concerns has long been a challenge; finding solutions and common ground has been even more difficult.

Evidence shows programs that address women’s needs for sexual and reproductive health that also support environmental efforts can improve the ecosystem, reduce vulnerability, and enhance resilience to climate change. Population-related policies, including offering voluntary rights-based family planning services and improved education for women and girls, are important factors for addressing climate response options, benefitting both human well-being and environmental issues and helping governments meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

In an effort to support such policies, FP2020 is taking an active role in leading important discussions around family planning and environmental sustainability.

We are working with David Johnson, chief executive officer of the UK-based Margaret Pyke Trust, which runs the Population & Sustainability Network, and has promoted reproductive health and rights as an integral element of sustainable development for nearly 50 years. David has launched a new advocacy effort to amplify coordination and collaboration between environmentalists and conservationists, believing the partnership can lead both groups to lasting solutions. If he’s right, and we strongly suspect he is, overlapping goals for healthier communities and healthier planets may be in reach. We are working with David to promote an upcoming report that makes the case for population-health-environment advocacy, research, and action along with calls to action for donors and implementers.

FP2020 is hosting a series of webinars to explore links, approaches, and solutions to population and environmental issues. The first, which showcased the work of co-sponsors Population Reference Bureau and the Public Health Institute, explored how the family planning community can form partnerships with multilateral institutions, including the UN’s Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund, which support activities and programs to help vulnerable populations adapt to climate change impacts. Creating successful partnerships with these investment frameworks could contribute to both improved health and environments.

In coming months, FP2020 will share emerging research on how increased use of family planning can strengthen or accelerate a transition to environmental sustainability. We will work with our Focal Points in country to build cross-country conversations and share new findings, approaches, and campaigns from our partners.

Stay tuned for more from us on this important issue!

Improving family planning provision in south-west Uganda

July 20, 2018


Women in the communities around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in south-west Uganda have, on average, eight children. This is two more than they report they would ideally like to have. Network coordinator, the Margaret Pyke Trust, is working to support the local hospital, Bwindi Community Hospital, to address this through the delivery of its USHAPE training programme.

USHAPE (Uganda Sexual Health and Public Education) is a family planning training methodology which has been developed by the Margaret Pyke Trust, and a collective of clinicians in Uganda and the UK. At Bwindi Community Hospital, USHAPE is being implemented by a family planning training nurse funded by the Trust.

The training is being delivered at three different levels. The first level provides basic family planning information to all staff, regardless of their roles. Everyone at a healthcare facility should understand the fundamental importance of family planning, why family and community health are dependent on its provision, and why it is important to the hospital as a whole. Both clinical and non-clinical staff benefit from this training, as everyone has a role to play in ensuring family planning is available to all who seek it. For instance, a security guard might not realise why a young person is loitering by the gates, too nervous to enter, they should be welcoming. Similarly, a finance manager might not realise that investing in family planning services has life-saving and cost-saving benefits in the long-run, so they might not prioritise family planning in their work without knowing this.

The second level is delivered through skills training provided to healthcare workers, which combines theory-based and practical lessons on a range of topics, including reproductive anatomy and physiology, condoms, IUDs, contraceptive implants and injections, and oral contraceptives, in addition to cervical screening techniques, STIs, and counselling.

The third level, “train the trainers”, ensures the hospital has a large enough cohort of trainers to ensure training is embedded, and staff are monitored and supported to ensure the delivery of comprehensive family planning services.

Alongside this, the family planning training nurse is also conducting outreach in the remote and rural areas surrounding the hospital, to increase awareness of the importance of family planning and to provide information about how individuals can access services.

Kathryn Lloyd, the Trust’s Programmes & Operations Manager explained, “We are delighted the Trust is able to support Bwindi Community Hospital to fully embed USHAPE over the next three years. In the coming months I will be at Bwindi Community Hospital, working with them and others to expand this model with neighbouring hospitals. It’s an exciting time in the history of USHAPE”.   

Devex covers Network: How family planning can help save cheetahs

June 18, 2018


On 18 June 2018 Devex, the leading media platform for the global development community, published a lengthy piece on the work of the Population & Sustainability Network. 

In Sophie Edwards’ article she wrote about not only the policy work of recent Network member, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and Network coordinator, the Margaret Pyke Trust, but also more broadly on the Population Health & Environment conservation model, and the appointment by the Trust of Robert Engelman. Robert is a renowned environmental and demography expert, and his substantial experience gained at the United Nations Population Fund, PAI, Population Institute, and Worldwatch Institute will only further enhance the ability of the Trust and wider Population & Sustainability Network to advance the Population, Health & Environment agenda.

The full Devex article can be accessed here.

A Matter of Life and Death: Women and the New Eugenics

May 18, 2018


New book challenges the development community to reconsider its approach to the need to remove barriers to girls and women accessing family planning services, in the context of a world with a growing population.

A long-term volunteer of the Margaret Pyke Trust, the coordinator of the Population & Sustainability Network, has authored a book calling for changes to the way the international community consider population issues. Barbara Rogers argues that the solution has to be an intense focus on women’s needs.

Barbara criticises opposition to family planning as a form of “modern eugenics” where rival factions in effect force women to bear more children than they would choose. Barbara argues that UN conferences have reached a dead end because of implacable opposition, especially from the Holy See. Barbara said, “The UN specialised agencies should be challenged to incorporate family planning into their programmes, perhaps with a resolution at the UN General Assembly. All development requires greater health provision, and this should always incorporate maternity care and family planning.” The book contains recommendations for new approaches from national governments and NGOs, to break the deadlock on this crucial issue.

David Johnson, Chief Executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust concluded, “Barbara has supported our work by volunteering for us for some time. Given her level of knowledge on the subject, I am unsurprised that she has now written this thoughtful book. Barbara’s book provides her own views, and not those of the Trust or Population & Sustainability Network, but it is a great addition to the growing debate and certainly worth a read.”

“A Matter of Life and Death: Women and the New Eugenics” by Barbara Rogers (Brown Dog Books 2018, £9.99/ $16.89) is available from Foyles and other good bookshops, and on Amazon.

Network members speak at the IUCN’s 70th anniversary meeting in London

May 3, 2018


Population & Sustainability Network members joined International Union for Conservation of Nature’s UK National Committee in London yesterday, to speak at an event hosted by PSN’s coordinator, the Margaret Pyke Trust.

Population & Sustainability Network members, the Margaret Pyke Trust and Blue Ventures, were pleased to be invited to speak at a celebratory event marking for the 70th anniversary of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in London yesterday.

The event, “Nature and human wellbeing – scoring common goals”, brought together IUCN members and the UK’s leading conservation organisations to hear information on how some of the IUCN’s UK members contribute to the delivery of the people-centred Sustainable Development Goals.  

Delegates were delighted to be joined by Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, who shared DEFRA’s vision of a sustainable future and praised the IUCN’s for its achievements over the last 70 years.

In addition to the Margaret Pyke Trust and Blue Ventures, the event featured a range of speakers from IUCN UK member organisations, such as UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development, Zoological Society of London, and Sustainability and Environmental Education.

David Johnson, Chief Executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, the coordinating body of the Population & Sustainability Network, said, “The Trust was honoured to be invited to not only host the celebration of the IUCN’s 70th anniversary, which also marked the IUCN UK’s 21st birthday, but to also present on the important links between sexual and reproductive health and conservation through its work and the work of Network members Blue Ventures, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Friends of the Earth, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and Pathfinder International.”